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The makers of Toy Story 4 are hoping that we’re all eager to find our inner child one more time.Pixar/Disney

Thanks to the Avengers’ expedited desire to cancel the apocalypse last week, the summer movie season arrives this year earlier than ever. But if you thought that Endgame would be the, well, endgame of the seasonal blockbuster deluge, than I have a tombstone with Spider-Man’s name on it to sell you. To make sense of this summer’s franchise-filthy movie lineup, The Globe and Mail presents its guide to four months’ worth of sequels, reboots and even a few original concepts, too. (All release dates subject to change.)

Sequels everyone expected

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

Expectations were non-existent when Keanu Reeves first took bloody revenge for the death of his puppy in 2014′s John Wick. Yet thanks to Reeves’s deadpan performance, his committed physicality and a body count rivalling many international conflicts, John Wick was suddenly a franchise. Director Chad Stahelski’s third entry picks up exactly where the second left off, with everyone’s favourite assassin on the run from the competition (which, in Wick’s enthusiastically outré mythos, includes just about every resident of New York). Clocking in at nearly 2½ hours, expect the ridiculously titled film (“Parabellum”? Why?) to deliver more carnage, more what-the-hell side characters (Jason Mantzoukas’s Tick Tock Man is already a legend) and more dogs. (May 17)

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Quick question: Aside from the title character, does anyone remember much of 2014′s Godzilla? I don’t think it matters, as this sequel jettisons most of that first film’s characters (save Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins’s government scientists) to jam in more of what audiences actually care about: big ol’ honkin’ monsters, y’all. Here, Godzilla goes up against Ghidorah and other giant thingies as our Earth is reduced to ash – but not too much ash, as a sequel to this film, Godzilla vs. Kong, is set for next year. (May 31)

Dark Phoenix

It seems fitting for Fox’s consistently wobbly, continuity-averse X-Men franchise that its last go-round (well, second-last, if the long-delayed New Mutants ever sees the light of day) is a retread of a story that the series has already mishandled onscreen before. Just as X-Men: The Last Stand tried and failed to adapt the legendary comics tale of Jean Grey’s battle to control her mutant powers, Dark Phoenix will tackle the same story, albeit this time with a younger Jean (Sophie Turner) and a presumably better director than Last Stand’s Brett Ratner (long-time X-scribe Simon Kinberg is stepping behind the camera for the first time). It doesn’t matter how badly the effort turns out: New X-stewards Disney will likely reboot the whole shebang in a year or two. (June 7)

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Without angering fans of Avengers: Endgame more than I already have – who knew the internet was filled with so much anger, and so much bad spelling? – I won’t say how this new Spidey film configures into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, what with Peter Parker having turned to dust the last time we saw him. Perhaps Spider-Man: Far from Home is a prequel to Infinity War? Perhaps it is just a fever dream society is collectively experiencing as we submit our consciousness to all things superhero? Either way: looks fun! Now please stop sending me death threats. (July 2)

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

To Vin Diesel’s eternal chagrin, the hilariously prolific Fast & Furious series is entering a Dominic Toretto-less era, with this ninth (!) film in the franchise focusing on two supporting characters: Dwayne Johnson’s bricks-instead-of-bones government agent Hobbs and Jason Statham’s oi-what’s-all-this-then mercenary Shaw. Don’t worry, though, the film still promises all the vehicular destruction, casual indifference to bystander safety and subtle homoeroticism that F&F built its name on. (Aug. 2)

Sequels that no one expected

Men in Black International

The third Men in Black film came out seven years ago – the same time that the Avengers were first teaming up. If there’s been a pent-up demand for more MiB stories in the interim, sure, then this sorta-sequel can be justified. But I get the feeling that Sony was looking for some intellectual property to exploit, and Marvel co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson happened to have a few free months in their schedule. Or maybe I’m bitter that the only good idea about extending this series – having it become an offshoot of Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s 21 Jump Street franchise – never came to pass. Judge for yourself, and prepare to have your memory wiped immediately afterward. (June 14)


With the release of Tim Story’s sequel/reboot, there are now three movies in the Shaft series titled Shaft. That’s not the only confusing part of the black private eye’s resurrection, given that 2000′s Shaft reboot starring Samuel L. Jackson didn’t exactly light the world on fire. Maybe the third Shaft time is the third Shaft charm, as Story’s new thriller teams up original Shaft Richard Roundtree, Jackson’s Shaft Jr. and Jessie Usher’s junior Shaft Jr. (June 14)

Toy Story 4

Nine years ago, Pixar plunged a knife into the heart of audiences everywhere with its extremely well-made tear-jerker Toy Story 3. At the time, there felt no need to further tweak perfection with a sequel. Yet, in a year filled with familiar, if more malicious, talking toys — this summer also sees the return of Chucky from Child’s Play, Annabelle from the Conjuring-verse and whatever the hell that doll is in Brahms: The Boy II — the makers of Toy Story 4 are hoping that we’re all eager to find our inner child one more time. Judging from the first 20 minutes of the film screened for media and exhibitors in Las Vegas last month, Pixar went to infinity and beyond on the visual-effects budget: The movie looks gorgeous. Just bring along some Kleenex. And extra cash to hit the toy store afterward. (June 21)

Angel Has Fallen

As a devoted admirer of cinema du Gerard Butler – you know, those trashy thrillers that make all the good kind of bad decisions – I’m both shocked and delighted that producers have decided to throw the Scottish actor his very own Secret Service-centric franchise. After 2013′s Olympus Has Fallen and 2016′s London Has Fallen, Butler’s superkiller Mike Banning is back, but this time framed for the attempted murder of the U.S. President. In addition to the growly Butler, the supporting cast is filled with just the right kind of care-more-than-they-have-to character actors, including Nick Nolte, Danny Huston, and Lance Reddick. This promises to be the perfect kind of late-August garbage. (Aug. 23)

Movies that have no sequels in mind ... for now

Booksmart and Good Boys

An apology off the top: It is unfair to lump these two R-rated comedies into one listing. But also: It feels completely fair. Both are pitched as updates on the Superbad formula: Foul-mouthed young people (teenagers Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein in Booksmart, middle-schoolers Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon in Good Boys) get rough and rowdy as a coming-of-age milestone approaches. Plus, both trailers rely equally on F-bombs and Run the Jewels’s Nobody Speak to convey a sense of vulgar frivolity. A good bet would be on Booksmart, from first-time director Olivia Wilde, to deliver a more layered experience, while Gene Stupnitsky’s Good Boys (from Superbad producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg) looks tipped toward easier shocks. (Booksmart opens May 24; Good Boys opens Aug. 16)


Remember Bohemian Rhapsody? Rocketman’s producers sure hope you do, as the marketing for this Elton John biopic seems cribbed from that of last year’s Freddie Mercury drama. It even has the same director, sort of. (Dexter Fletcher was brought on to complete the work of Bryan Singer after he left Bohemian Rhapsody close to wrap.) But whereas Rami Malek didn’t lend much of his singing voice to Mercury, Taron Egerton stretches all his vocals as Reginald Kenneth Dwight. (May 31)


The idea behind Danny Boyle’s Yesterday is amazing in its high-concept head-shakery. After getting in a bicycle accident, British musician Jack (Himesh Patel) wakes up in a world where no one knows who the Beatles are … except him. After performing the work of John, Paul, George and Ringo and claiming the songs as his own, Jack becomes an international superstar. Don’t let me down, guys. (June 28)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film feels as it’s already been dissected and debated to the hilt, even though it doesn’t open for three months. What we know for sure: Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the film follows a television actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt), with Charles Manson (Damon Herriman) and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) somehow fitting into Tarantino’s surely fetishistic film-industry puzzle. The cast is huge (Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Lena Dunham, Timothy Olyphant and the late Luke Perry are all here, too), the controversy enormous (who’s to say how Tarantino will handle, or not, Tate’s murder) and the stakes fascinating (this is the director’s first film made without the Weinstein brothers). Good luck, everybody. (July 26)

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